Friday, 1 January 2016

Winds of change at Saudia

Full article in PDF format

Discussions about Gulf aviation invariably focus on the so-called 'big three' carriers in the region: Dubai's Emirates Airline, Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways. Saudia, the flag-carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, rarely gets a mention – despite deploying more aircraft than Etihad, and boasting a history that stretches back decades before the launch of the new breed of Gulf super-connectors.

Saudia's absence from the global limelight is partly down to its focus on domestic flying, with two-thirds of the airline's seating capacity deployed inside the kingdom. It is also a reflection of the conservative values of its government owner. The big three Gulf carriers, by contrast, have designed their businesses around intercontinental transfer traffic, forcing them to invest heavily in global marketing campaigns and high-profile sponsorship deals. Saudia neither wants nor needs to make as much noise...